Readers Cris and SBMizzou let me know that a new sign for Rusty’s Pizza has appeared at 4880 Hollister Avenue in Goleta, in the Turnpike Center parking lot. The building, next to Cody’s Restaurant, was constructed last year and has been rumored to become everything from a sandwich shop to a bank. I spoke with the staff at Turnpike Rusty’s (at the other end of the same parking lot) which primarily is a to-go location with just a few tables. I was told that the new location will be a full-sized pizza parlor in the Rusty’s tradition. Rusty’s hopes to open the new location by the end of the year at which time the current Turnpike Rusty’s will close.




Readers tell me that Potek Winery is now open in The Mill, 412 East Haley Street. Justin West, co-owner of Restaurant Julienne at 138 East Canon Perdido Street, plans to open Wildwood Kitchen on the property, offering smoked meats and southern-style American barbecue with a Santa Barbara ranch influence. Indoor and patio seating will be available. Other future tenants at The Mill include high-end craft beer maker Third Window Brewery, with 18 stainless-steel fermentation tanks. Rumor has it that Wildwood Kitchen and Third Window Brewery hope to open by November.



Santa Barbara Independent writer Charles Donelan reports that Timbers restaurant plans to host the “Goodland Supper Club.” Timbers is the long-closed iconic eatery at 10 Winchester Canyon Road in Goleta that earlier this year announced plans to reopen. I am not sure if the restaurant is still going to reopen (rumors suggest it might not) but it apparently will host events.

Donelan says that the dinner theater will be run by David and Susie Couch, members of the Santa Barbara Theater community since 1991. As producers of the now-defunct Circle Bar B Dinner Theatre, 2004-2014, David and Susie created one of the region’s most ambitious small theaters, presenting one World Premier, two West Coast Premiers and 11 Regional Premiers. Recognition in the form of 12 Indy Awards, for Acting, Directing, Costume Design and Career Achievement, cemented their company’s place among Santa Barbara County’s performing arts organizations. Presenting “comedy with heart,” David and Susie make everyone a part of their theater family. Patrons from as far away as Orange County have grown to love David and Susie’s Seriously Fun Theater.

Murder at Cafe Noir is a comic tribute, with music, to Bogart movies of the 1940′s. The location is a a seedy cafe on a Caribbean Island. The story takes place in the present but the characters are from a time and place long forgotten. The play opens to the news that Andre Gauvreau’s body has washed ashore. He has been murdered, but by whom? Is it the French madam, the Creole voodoo priestess or another miscreant who inhabits the island? The action takes place before during and after dinner. The audience will help decide who perpetrated the crime. A three course meal will be served during the performance, which begins at 7 p.m. on Thursday-Saturday evenings and at 1 p.m. on Sunday afternoons. September 17-27.

In Will Rogers’ America, Rich Hoag brings Will Rogers to life. This is an encore performance of the 2005 World Premier at the Circle Bar B Dinner Theatre. Rich has delighted audience around the country with this one-man show. A tri tip barbeque buffet will be served prior to the performance at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday-Saturday evenings and 1 p.m. on Sunday afternoon. October 22-25.

The Farndale Avenue Housing Estate Townswoman’s Guild Dramatic Society presents A Christmas Carol is great holiday fare for the entire family. Dickens has never been funnier or more ridiculous. It’s Noises Off meets Monty Python in skirts and very British. A traditional holiday buffet will be served prior to the performance at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday-Saturday evenings and 1 p.m. on Sunday afternoons. December 3-13

Tickets for dinner and the show are $49.00 for General admission and $45.00 for seniors, students and tickets purchased as a three show package. Tickets may be purchased by check or credit card. Contact the Goodland Theater Box Office for reservations at 705-9598.



Reader David tells me that La Bella Rosa Bakery at 1411 San Andres Street is opening a location at 7127 Hollister Avenue, the former home of Café Zoma in University Plaza.




This just in from The Fig Grill in Goleta:

Hello John,

We are hosting a party to celebrate the opening of our new restaurant The Fig Grill (formerly Fresco Cafe North), we would like to welcome all of our customers that were regulars and customers that are trying us for the first time.  The will be a ribbon cutting hosted by the Goleta Chamber of Commerce and Goleta council members in attendance.  Live music will be provided by the Dos Pueblos High School Jazz Band.  Light refreshment and drinks will be provided.  Looking forward to meeting everybody.

WHERE: 5940 Calle Real, Goleta, CA 93117
WHEN: Tuesday, September 8th, 2015 from 4:00pm to 6:00pm.
WHY: To introduce ourselves and our fine food and drinks to regular and new customers.

Thank you.
Indras Govender
The Fig Grill

thefiggrill patio

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The public is invited to attend the 34th Annual Taste of the Town Santa Barbara, the area’s signature culinary event benefiting the Arthritis Foundation, featuring tastings from 80 local restaurants and Central Coast wineries on Sunday, September 13, 2015 from Noon to 3 p.m. at Riviera Park Gardens, 2030 Alameda Padre Serra, in Santa Barbara. This community event features tastings, entertainment and a silent auction in a setting overlooking the city. Returning to Co-Chair the Santa Barbara tradition are opal Restaurant & Bar co-owners, Tina Takaya and Richard Yates.

This year, Taste of the Town announces Bacara Resort & Spa’s new Executive Chef, Vincent Lesage, as its Honorary Lead Chef. In this role, Chef Lesage and his team will design a  menu for event sponsors and their guests at the Connoisseurs’ Circle on Friday night, September 11, 2015 at Bacara Resort & Spa. Now in its sixth year, the Connoisseurs’ Circle VIP experience creates an opportunity to enjoy Chef Lesage’s culinary expertise up close, on the Friday night before Taste of the Town’s traditional Sunday food and wine event at Riviera Park Gardens. Born and raised in Paris, Chef Lesage arrives at Bacara with over 10 years of experience in the culinary field, specifically with prestigious hotels and restaurants in the USA and in France. Taste of the Town Leadership Council Co-Chairs Jennifer Jaqua and Jacques Habra conceptualized the Connoisseurs’ Circle experience six years ago and are overseeing logistics and fundraising for the exclusive gathering again this year. “With Chef Lesage at the helm this year, we are being true to the name Connoisseurs’ Circle,” says Habra. “We look forward to a dazzling and interactive evening of culinary delights and entertainment. We are excited about our move to the gorgeous Bacara Resort property, which affords us the beauty and creative options that our many guests have come to expect from this event.” Chef Lesage and his cuisine will also be featured at the Sunday afternoon main event.

All proceeds from Taste of the Town support the local programs and services of the Arthritis Foundation. The Foundation is the a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of 53 million people (including nearly 300,000 children) with arthritis through health education, advocacy, research, and local juvenile arthritis support. Taste of the Town tickets purchased in advance are $125 per person; tickets at the door will be $140. Tickets are limited, so early reservations are encouraged by calling the Arthritis Foundation at 805-563-4685 or by visiting TasteofTheTownSantaBarbara.org

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Reader Bruce let me know that Caffe Primo at 516 State Street (formerly Pierre Lafond Wine Bistro) is having a soft, dinner-only opening on September 14th. Caffe Primo has locations in downtown Los Angeles, West Hollywood, Anaheim and San Diego. In addition to Santa Barbara, future locations include Woodland Hills, Santa Monica, 2 more in West Hollywood and a second location in downtown Los Angeles.

I stopped by and spoke with General Manager Andrew Morgan and Regional Director Anthony Riviera.  Riviera says Caffe Primo in Santa Barbara is an Italian restaurant offering casual dining with full service. A large counter in the middle of the restaurant creates a fast casual feel. Only dinner will be available at opening and after a week the menu will be expanded to include breakfast (available all day) and lunch. “We will be involved in the community here in Santa Barbara,” says Riviera. “It’s a city unto its own and we look forward to earning their business.”

Their web site iloveprimo.com describes the business this way:

“Primo brings to life the atmosphere; taste and charm of what locals thrive on, a local place to refresh, refuel and relax in their daily lives. Caffé Primo perfectly blends the warmth of an eatery with the modern touches of a sleek restaurant, bringing European style and ambience to America in a casual atmosphere. Most Europeans have more of a ‘gathering’ mentality whether it would be with family, friends or people in their community. Caffé Primo affords that common spot where guests are free to spend time from mid-morning until late night. Caffé Primo, like its Italian meaning, represents all that is ‘First In class’; guests enjoy simple, impeccably prepared food in an elegant setting, at very affordable price without the confines of a formal dining room.”

The menu includes a variety of coffee offerings, smoothies, fresh-squeezed juices, breakfast, brown rice bowls, pressed panini, wraps, French crepes, pizza, pasta, soups, salads, beer and wine. Call 845-9301.
Caffe Primo General Manager Andrew Morgan (left) and Regional Director Anthony Riviera.



Reader Primetime let me know that Crushcakes has closed their location at 6533 Trigo Road in Isla Vista. Crushcakes moved to 5392 Hollister Avenue in Goleta, partnering with Simply Pies. A sign on the empty store in Isla Vista says the next tenant will be Kol’s Café. Visit kolscafe.com.



Last May I mentioned that a new restaurant named The Little Door will be opening toward the end of the year at 129 East Anapamu Street, the former home of Piano Riviera Lounge and former home of Elements Restaurant & Bar. Reader David tells me that a sign on the door indicates that they are now open. I am told that hours are Tuesday – Saturday from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m., and 5 p.m. – 11 p.m. Renovations are still underway and should be done in December at which time The Little Door will be open 7 days a week. Visit thelittledoor.com.



Reader Bruce tells me that Caffe Primo at 516 State Street (formerly Pierre Lafond Wine Bistro) is opening next month:


Signs just went up in the front window of Cafe Primo saying that it’s opening on September 14th.


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The Alvaro Family, founders of Rudy’s Mexican restaurant plan to open Cito Street Café at 305 W. Montecito Street, next door to the original Rudy’s location which opened in 1976. The Alvara family has owned the corner property, referred to as Montecito Plaza, for many years. The business will be run by founder Rudy Alvarao’s daughter Andrea and will offer coffee, pastries, salads, pre-made sandwiches, beer and wine. Cito Street Café, which will be replacing a discount store that previously occupied the space just to the right of Rudy’s Mexican restaurant, hopes to open in November.


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Reader Cathy tells me that a sign for “805 Boba” has appeared in Paseo Nuevo Mall across from Pressed Juicery.

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SBMenus.com is going the extra mile by expanding delivery service to include Montecito, with a territory that extends to all of Goleta. SBMenus, recently launched a free, user-friendly app making it possible to order restaurant delivery and takeout from any mobile device. A key feature of the app allows customers to track their order from the restaurant to destination, so customers can see where their food is at all times. SBMenus ensures hungry diners will have a wide selection from over 80 Santa Barbara restaurants such as Los Agaves, McConnell’s, Joe’s Café, Chase Bar & Grill, Santa Barbara Chicken Ranch, South Coast Deli, Fresco Café & Bakery, Our Daily Bread, and Union Ale.

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Traditionally the Sojourner Café at 134 E. Canon Perdido Street is closed on Monday’s. That changed this week when Nimita’s Cuisine opened for business, filling in for Sojourner every Monday. Owner Sojourner owner Donna Mudge has formed a partnership with Nimita’s owner Nimita Dhirajlal which current offers Nimita’s Cuisine via lunch truck and catering.

Dhirahlal’s web site nimitascuisine.com offers the following description:

“I pride myself in being able to offer Ayurvedic meals geared to support health through a vegetarian diet by collaborating with local farmers and finally nurturing members of our community. The abundance and variety of fresh vegetables in our local market allows my cuisine to conjure up a modified version of Indian food that focuses on allowing us to respect the flavors of each vegetable while still enjoying the spices. I have been a culinary instructor since 1994. I have taught in the Canary Islands, Spain and have been actively teaching in the community of Santa Barbara since 1996. Venues where I have taught include SBCC Adult Education, Roblar Culinary School, Private Meetups, and SB County Jail. My commitment to nurture the community embraces every sector including the Hispanic community with which I delight doing group work in my job as a therapist. More than often, I integrate the art of cooking with therapy work. What we are all looking for is connection. When we work with food, appreciate it, understand its benefits and share it with community members, we are feasting our souls and healing happens in a subtle way. There is also a meditative benefit that come along with the mindfulness of cooking. My passion has led me to create my own company, Nimita’s Cuisine, which offers weekly deliveries to private individuals. I also actively supports the Meatless Monday campaign and am committed to bring this awareness to my local community. My business motto is: ‘Let me teach you how to make the meals. And if you don’t have time to make them, then let me bring them to you to enjoy.’”

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Kanaloa Seafood has moved from their long-time home at 618 East Gutierrez Street and opened this week at 715 Chapala Street. Their web site kanaloaseafood.com describes the business:

“At Kanaloa seafood company, our mission statement is the Hawaiian word, Kina’ole, which means “doing the right thing, in the right way, at the right time, in the right place, to the right person, for the right reason, with the right feeling, every time. Kanaloa Seafood is a full-service wholesale provider bringing a rigorous scientific approach and commitment to sustainable product sourcing. For over 30 years we have partnered with restaurants, hospitality groups, retailers — and now home cooks — consistently delivering the freshest seafood available directly to their doorstep. In addition to delivering seafood, we maintain retail markets in Santa Barbara and Oxnard, California.”

Call 966-5159.



Reader Primetime let me know that KEYT has a story on the new Globe restaurant at 18 E. Cota Street.

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A sandwich shop named Which Wich hopes to open five locations on the South Coast starting in 2016. Which Wich has over 400 locations in 38 states and more than 50 in California. Here is a description of the business from whichwich.com:

“Which Wich Superior Sandwiches is an innovative yet simple concept that focuses on the ‘wich,’ a customizable sandwich available in more than 50 varieties. To ensure each sandwich fits the guest’s exact specifications, founder Jeff Sinelli created a revolutionary system that simplifies the ordering process—thereby creating greater efficiency, customer satisfaction, and, ultimately, brand loyalty. Which Wich was a hit from the moment it opened its doors in 2003, so we began franchising in 2005. Which Wich has received local recognition in nearly every market it serves, as well as industry accolades. In 2007, Which Wich was honored with the coveted Hot Concepts. Award from Nation’s Restaurant News, the premier trade publication for the restaurant industry. In 2010, Which Wich was named the fastest growing restaurant chain in the United States and Canada by Chain Restaurant Guide. We also are consistently ranked among the top 20 fastest growing concepts on RestaurantChains.net.”



Word has come to me that a brand of organic, sustainable, premium tea called Chai Diaries is newly available at Gelson’s in Santa Barbara. Ami Bhansali, the founder of Chai Diaries, will be sampling product on Sunday, August 23rd from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. “We are so excited to offer Chai Diaries teas to Gelson’s customers as we believe their quest for quality products will be satisfied by our delicious, wholesome and healthy teas,” says Bhansali. “I believe that health is realized holistically and Chai Diaries aims to support well-being both physically and mentally.” Chai Diaries’ loose-leaf, whole-leaf and 100% compostable teabags contain a variety of organic teas including Ayurveda, Black Teas, Blooming Teas, Chai Teas, Green Teas, Insta-Chais, Oolongs, Pu’erh, Rooibos and Tisanes (both caffeine free), and White Teas. Visit mychaidiaries.com.

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Readers tell me that Rebar Coffee has opened at 214 State Street, the former home of Tri Tip Company, which is immediately next to Union Ale. The main menu includes Cold Brew Coffee, Cold Brew Vanilla Sweet, Latte Coffee, Vanilla Latte, Mesquite Pecan Milk, Sparkling Tea, and Sparkling Lemonade. The espresso menu includes Espresso, Espresso Macchiato, Cappuccino, Caffee Latte, Americano, Iced Latte, and Iced Americano. Assorted pastries and baked goods are also available. Call 845-2222 or visit facebook.com/rebarcoffee.


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Crushcakes & Café has completed a merger with Simply Pies at 5392 Hollister Avenue in Goleta. Owner Shannon Gaston offers up some details:

“Hi John,
I wanted to let you and your readers know that Crushcakes & Simply Pies is now open in Goleta! We are serving our full breakfast, lunch, coffee and cake offerings as well as all of our delicious Simply Pies! Our official Grand Opening Party will be this Saturday, August 15th at 10 a.m. Come visit us for complimentary cupcakes, champagne and other delicious treats!! We are located at 5392 Hollister Avenue, open everyday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. We have a big patio out back. Bring your friends, family and dogs! Woof! Thank you!
– Shannon”




Word on the street is that On The Alley will open in Camino Real Marketplace in August and that neighboring eateries Jane and Pascucci will open in late November or sometime in December.



Reader Glenn tells me that a new restaurant named Café Dolce has opened at 475 1st Street in Solvang serving Gelato and other “Backyard Bowls-type entrees.” Call 708-9003.

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Reader Cynthia shares some thoughts from Carpinteria:

“Just curious to see if you had any information about the space where Taqueria Buen Gusto on Carpinteria Avenue in Carp was. It was so strange because one week the restaurant was closed and tented due to some kind of infestation then it looked open for a couple of days then it closed for good. I noticed some people working in there a couple weeks ago so thought it may have been sold? I’m praying for a great place to go in there:)”

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This just in from reader Jeremiah:

“Hi John!
I am hosting a local radio show that ‘takes a peek’ at the entertaining stories that make up the hospitality biz on KZSB AM 1290 each Thursday at 11 a.m. The show is rebroadcast at 9 p.m. and Saturday at noon and 12 a.m. Sunday morning for the late night industry professionals. The program is called ‘The Jeremiah Show.’ One of the segments that we produce once a month is called ‘Culinary Kids.’ This segment is sort of like a ‘Shark Tank’ for kids who want to open their own restaurants one day, and we encourage them to join us on air to answer questions and “pitch” us their business. We are looking for new Culinary Kids. Please ask your audience to send their Culinary Kids names, ages, ideas and a short pitch to info@HJLRestaurantAdvisors.com. Thank you John!
– Jeremiah”

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Reader Steve let me know that Boca del Rio at 318 North Milpas Street has closed. The business opened January 2012.

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Reader Steve also let me know that a new Mexican restaurant named Los Altos has opened at 318 North Milpas Street, the former home of Boca del Rio. Owner Alberto Gonzalez’s home of Jalisco Mexico is the inspiration behind the taste and feel of Los Altos. Happy hour is available daily 3 – 6 p.m. Delivery is available with $25 minimum order. Call 845-8898 or visit losaltosrestaurant.com.



This just in from reader Carolyn:

What’s going on with the old auto body shop in the Romanti-Ezer lot at 701 Chapala Street? Looks like a new restaurant is quickly approaching! There is also a new Ramen bar coming where Esau’s used to be! – Carolyn



Can someone please open a Poke Bar/Restaurant/Cafe PLEASE?! They are everywhere in Santa Monica, Venice, etc… Maybe I should…?

- Meeshell



Santa Barbara Public Market has lost two tenants. Crazy Good Bread closed yesterday and Belcampo Meat Co. closes tonight. You will still be able to buy Crazy Good Bread products in the market at Culture Counter and Il Fustino.



To celebrate the local community, the Santa Barbara Public Market has launched “Locals Night”, every Monday night at 5pm. All Santa Barbara locals are invited to the Public Market to enjoy great food and drink specials from participating merchants. Locals Night specials include:

  • Half Off BBQ Chicken Wings at Belcampo with beverage purchase from Wine + Beer
  • 10% off oils + vinegars after 5pm at il Fustino
  • 10% off a purchase of $10 or more at Flagstone Pantry
  • 20% off your purchase at Green Star Coffee
  • $1 off Draft Beer and Gassac rose wine at Empty Bowl Gourmet Noodle Bar
  • 15% off produce purchases at Forager’s Pantry
  • Two ice cream sandwiches for $8.05 from Rori’s Artisanal Creamery
  • Happy Hour all night at Wine + Beer
  • $1 Oysters at I`a Fish Market & Café